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Michael Casswell - Pro Concepts Season 3 - Part 10: Inverted Pedal Notes

Lesson Notes

** As featured in issue 32 **

Hi everyone. In this guitar lesson I want to talk about something I have called 'Inverted Pedal Notes'. We probably all know what a regular pedal note is, which is usually something we think of as a note that carries through a guitar riff, phrase or chord sequence that you use to 'pedal' from. But what do we call it if the actual pedal tone changes? Well, having asked some very knowledgeable musician friends of mine, you would be 'inverting' the pedal tone to certain notes in the chord, scale or tonic key. So therefore the title of this Pro Concepts was born.

Although an 'Inverted Pedal Note' sounds very muso, it's actually a simple concept that can add a huge amount of colour and flavour to your improvisations and is yet another tool to break you out of playing box shapes or the same old tired licks that you might go to when you are put under pressure. It's an approach that I have used for a long time in my playing, and more so nowadays, purely because I don't hear many guitar players doing it. Hopefully now I have showed you guys this approach, you all will be trying it. It can be our secret. Don't forget, anything that can set you apart from what everyone else is doing can only be a good thing, as long as you can also do the techniques that everyone can do. As I said, I don't hear this concept nearly enough, which is strange because I think it's seriously cool, and shows a lot flare and musicianship.

Basically, the film of me playing it makes the approach easier to understand than writing about it. But put simply, the idea is to choose an anchor note, from the scale or chord you are using, and bounce from it with either alternate or hybrid picking. Strictly speaking, if we are talking about 'inverted' notes, we are talking about degrees within the chord. In my example we are working in G7, so G,B,D and F are all going to be very strong tones to pedal from. But from a creative point of view, do not restrict yourself when improvising or composing a cool run. I tried to incorporate notes to pedal from that came from G Mixolydian and even the humble G minor pentatonic. Hopefully it'll make sense when you see and hear me visually piece together the run that has this pedal note approach, and though one big long phrase is the end result, I break it up into smaller phrases that you can use in your playing if you can't get this approach to compose your own pedal note lick.

Just to make things harder for myself in front of the cameras, after composing the component parts of the run and piecing it together, I then demonstrate how the sound can change once you switch from alternate picking to hybrid picking .

It's a cool approach and like all my Pro Concepts, I hope it opens an avenue of improvisation that you may not have thought about before.


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